Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship to undergo a refurbishment as part of the Royal Amplified program, Independence of the Seas, has emerged from dry dock and is ready for guests to enjoy the fun new features onboard.
Royal Caribbean completed the multimillion-dollar upgrades on Independence of the Seas, which resulted in the addition of a number of new features onboard, including:
A larger interactive aqua park, Splashaway Bay, featuring wild waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and drench bucket
Addition of Izumi specialty restaurant (with table side Teppanyaki grills)
Royal Amplified will cover 10 ships over four years. Further details on upgrades coming to the Oasis Class is still forthcoming.
Royal Caribbean describes the goal of the Royal Amplified program as something that will, "innovative attractions, pools, bars, and dining."
The Royal Amplified program will focus on three main areas:
Pool Deck & Attractions: A re-imagined outside pool deck to discover everything under the sun – from pools specifically designed with prime ways to lounge, to those programmed with diverse activities day and night, plus the boldest attractions and first-of-a-kind thrills on deck. Examples of these experiences are: Sky Pad, The Perfect Storm, Laser Tag and Escape Room.
Bars & Nightlife: We will give your clients the chance to drink, clink and live it up in distinct new bars and nightlife spots that deliver on the three tenets of a great night out: unique drinks, ways to be entertained, and good food. Examples of these experiences: The Bamboo Room and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.
Dining Mission: We will make delectable strides in delivering the cornerstone cuisines that guests have told us they crave – like great seafood, Mexican food, and Italian food – while upping our game in the fast, casual, grab & go category to keep our guests fueled between their adventures. Examples of these delicious culinary options are: El Loco Fresh, Hooked and Jamie’s Italian.
Royal Caribbean announced plans for a massive expansion to its private islands, as well as fleet modernization effort.
Leading the big news is the announcement of a $200 million transformation of Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas.
CocoCay will be the first in the cruise line's most ambitious project yet, which they are dubbing the Perfect Day Island Collection. This will be a series of unrivaled and exclusive private island destinations around the world.
Perfect Day at CocoCay is aimed at offering "the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean."
Thrill Waterpark, featuring two brag-worthy water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – will include the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. In addition, the waterpark will feature the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.
Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, with a swim-up bar and in-pool loungers.
A 1,600-foot zip line that crisscrosses the island at up to 50 feet high and features the only water landing in the Caribbean.
A helium balloon, dubbed Up, Up and Away, floats up to 450 feet above the ground providing for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.
Two specially designed beaches – Chill Island for the ultimate beach escape, complete with pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand – and plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation; and the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.
The exclusive Coco Beach Club, will offer an upscale island experience that will feature the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.
The island transformation will roll out in phases beginning September 2018 with the completion of a new pier, and by spring 2019 the majority of the island’s experiences will be open. Coco Beach Club, the final phase, is set to open November 2019.
Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and the Caribbean will be announced at a later date.
Royal Caribbean also announced it will invest $900 million to reimagining its fleet through a new modernization effort called Royal Amplified.
Royal Amplified will cover 10 ships over four years, and Royal Caribbean promises the program will touch every facet of the guest experience, and introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold, new experiences, including specialized pool spaces, experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions.
Royal Amplified will include the Oasis, Freedom and Voyager class ships.
Independence of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to receive updates under the Royal Amplified program. Mariner of the Seas will receive her upgrades in time for this summer. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.
Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.
Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.
In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers.
Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.
Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to receive the Skypad virtual reality trampoline during her Spring refurbishment.
According to TTG, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley announced that Independence of the Seas will have a Skypad, which is made up of four trampolines that have guests don VR headsets while in a bungee harness.
In a press release about the Skypad coming to Mariner of the Seas, the experience is described as, "Guests will strap in and don their virtual reality headset to transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky."
The addition of Skypad will take place during an April 2018 refurbishment, and is part of Royal Caribbean's Royal Amplified fleet-wide modernization initiative.